Friday, October 13, 2017

U.S. and Israel give notice to withdraw from UNESCO

POLITICS: ISRAEL, US TO QUIT UNESCO CITING 'ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS'. President Donald Trump has in general been critical of the United Nations and complained about the cost and value to the United States (MICHAEL WILNER, HERB KEINON, TOVAH LAZAROFF, Jerusalem Post).
Hours after the US’s dramatic decision to withdraw from UNESCO, citing anti-Israel bias, Israel stated that it also planned to leave the education, scientific and cultural body.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday night directed the Foreign Ministry to “prepare Israel’s withdrawal from the organization in parallel with the US.”

This is one of President Trump's favorite strategies: walk away from the negotiating table. He has used it again and again throughout his career. It motivates the other party to rethink and offer the best deal possible. This move comes at a particularly sensitive time, with a new UNESCO leader about to be appointed.

The withdrawal does not take effect until the end of 2018, so there is plenty of time for things to change. But the next move is UNESCO's.

Background on concerns about bias against Israel in various recent UNESCO resolutions is here and many links.

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